I started out making a peach pie. Shortcrust pastry, homemade with butter, some bourbon, lots of lovely ripe peaches. No, that is not entirely true, I started out working on BBQ recipes, and I was diverted by peaches towards a pie. Then I thought of the BBQ and the peach, and how they should combine.
Those peaches looked so good, so juicy, so ripe. My mind started to wander, no, sprint, to grilled peaches with bourbon caramel. YES, I had to do that. But something was needed in between that succulent peach and rich caramel. Cardamom cream? I love spice and a little cardamom is gorgeous with a peach, and also good with bourbon. I had just bought brioche buns at the bakers, so I was now starting to cement the recipe with the idea of brioche bread crumbs and coarse chopped hazelnuts crisped in butter, just on top. That bourbon could join some sugar in a caramel. And there we have a gorgeous succulent juicy grown up dessert.
I abandoned the pie. Briefly.
Caramel is very easy. You just need to take care and ensure that you don’t burn it or yourself. Disclosure: I burned my first one because I was distracted and I have made many many caramels over the years. It happens, but caramel is so easy, so don’t let it put you off. All you do is bring the sugar gently to caramel, when it is amber, add some cream, and then bourbon and boom – you are done. The cardamom cream is a simple whipped cream with toasted crushed cardamom seeds in it. The crumb speaks for itself.
Ready? This is a perfect summer dessert, even snack? It is mainly fruit anyway, right?!
Notes on the recipe: the cardamom is a little faffy, but worth it. No problem to leave it out if you can’t be bothered. If you do use it be sure to grind the cardamom as fine as possible.
RECIPE: Grilled Peaches with Cardamom Cream, Bourbon Caramel & Brioche Hazelnut Crumb
for 2 people (you will have enough caramel and cream and crumb for more – keeps well for seconds or thirds or next day)
2 ripe peaches
5 cardamom pods, seeds removed and toasted on a hot dry pan for a couple of minutes, then ground in a pestle and mortar
1 brioche bun, or a couple of slices of brioche loaf, blitzed to coarse breadcrumbs
2 tbsp blanched hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp butter and a little extra for the peaches
200g white granulated sugar
1 tsp golden syrup
100ml single cream
Make the caramel first. Heat the sugar, golden syrup and water in a pan until it becomes amber and thick. The water is there only to make it easier and reduce the risk of burning, it all boils off. The golden syrup keeps it smooth.
Take off the heat and quickly add the cream, stirring in as you do. It will react to it, but don’t worry at all.
Let the caramel settle for a few minutes, and stir through the bourbon. The caramel is incredibly hot straight after cooking, but we must add the cream first, to keep it fluid as it cools. Leave to the side until you need it.
Whip the cream and stir in the cardamom.
Melt the butter and add the brioche breadcrumbs and hazelnuts, toasting in the butter until starting to crisp. Remove from the pan and leave to the side.
Cut the peaches in half and remove the stones. Brush some melted butter on each cut half and grill, cut side down, for a few minutes until softening. If your peach isn’t as ripe as you would like, grill the bottom too. You can use the bbq, a char grill or a frying pan.
Serve the grilled peaches with the cream on top, then the hazelnut brioche crumb, followed by a drizzle of bourbon caramel.